If anything can be simultaneously heartening yet heartbreaking, it is in the prison sentence handed down Tuesday to Bill Cosby, the entertainer who was once America’s favorite comedian and who is now an imprisoned sex abuser.
Many who admired Cosby for his hilarious routines and his television role as the amusing Cliff Huxtable were slow to acknowledge the seriousness behind the reports of sexual attacks on women who came in contact with him. But with his conviction this spring for drugging an assaulting Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee, the mask fell.
America’s Dad was a monster.
While it was his attack on Constand that sent this 81-year-old man to prison for 3-10 years, many other women have reported assaults by Cosby. Several testified during the trial. In a 2005 deposition related to a civil suit filed by Constand, Cosby admitted getting prescription quaaludes to give to women he wanted.
Cosby is the first celebrity to be convicted of sexual assault in the #MeToo era, but other cases await. Among them are criminal charges and at least one civil lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein. The movie producer and former Buffalonian is facing felony counts of sexual assault and at least one civil lawsuit in which a British actress accuses him of sexually assaulting her in a hotel bathroom in Cannes, France, in 2014.
But Cosby is a special case because of the revered place from which he fell. He was beloved by millions, thought to be beyond reproach. But, in the end, he was just another powerful man who thought he could get away with sexually assaulting women as he pleased. Fortunately, he didn’t.